Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference, 2013
Royal Geographical Society and Imperial College, London. 28-30 August 2013
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), from cancer and diabetes to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, are not only the leading cause of death worldwide, they now also disproportionately affect the Global South, with 80% of global NCD-related mortality in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). This will further worsen with continuing economic development, rapid urbanization and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles causing NCD-related mortality to rise markedly in the Global South over the next few years.
To address this situation, international organizations, governments, NGOs and pharmaceutical companies have called for urgent action, setting up a growing number of international initiatives. Surprisingly, however, there has been very limited research on the challenges associated with the rise of NCDs in the Global South and initiatives to address it. Indeed, most of the geographical and other social scientific scholarship addressing global health has focused on the threat posed, and questions raised, by the international spread and re-emergence infectious diseases. In contrast, geographers and other social scientists have been much less attentive to the question of non-communicable diseases in the Global South. This is a little surprising given the extent and urgency of the problem and given that the same kinds of cultural, economic, social and political processes associated with infectious diseases are at play in the globalization of diseases that were once considered to be confined to the affluent countries of the global North.
The aim of this session is to begin to redress this lacuna by focusing explicitly on the issues raised by such diseases in the Global South. Here, we are not only interested in enhancing the empirical depth of our understanding but also in considering the ways in which theoretical perspectives used to analyse the geographies of infectious diseases might be employed in the analysis of non-communicable ones.
Possible themes and issues include but are not limited to:
- What are the different ways in which NCDs in the Global South have been problematized and framed over the last few decades?
- What international actors are behind the problematization of NCDs in the Global South and why are they interested in raising awareness about these issues?
- How are the strategies and policies to tackle NCDs which were developed in the Global North transported and translated to the Global South?
- How are the biomedical and political subjectivities and spaces associated with modern lifestyle diseases re-appropriated, resisted and translated in the Global South?
- What notions of modernity are informing the problematisation of NCDs in the Global South?
- Should strategies to address NCDs in the Global South be qualitatively different from those being developed in the Global North or is there space for North-South learning?
- How are NCDs experienced in the Global South? How do issues of right, access, equity and social justice play out in the diagnosis and treatment of NCDs?
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to Dr. Tim Brown (Queen Mary, University of London), Dr. Clare Herrick (Kings College London) or Dr David Reubi (University of Sussex) by 21st December 2012.